Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The history of Thanksgiving demonstrates that feasts like the one at Plymouth were held throughout the colonies after fall harvests. However, all thirteen colonies did not celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. In 1789, George Washington became the first president to declare Thanksgiving a holiday. By the mid-1800s, many states observed the Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor, Sarah J. Hale, had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November a day of Thanksgiving.
In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy ensued, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains. What is Thanksgiving today? At its heart, it's a holiday where family and friends congregate to catch up, reminisce, tell jokes, share scrumptious food and generally give thanks for all the good things in life-exactly what they did at the very first Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Various colors of Christmas orchids can be used when decorating. You can use traditional white using white phalaenopsis orchids. You can use large or small flowering types to create contrast. Trust me, placing just a few of these Christmas orchids in your decor will help your decor shout: elegance! No other blooming plant, not even the poinsettia can compare to the elegance orchids create in any home, office, hotel or skyscraper.
You can use red using red Mokara orchids orchids. These are very popular cut orchid flowers but Mokara orchids are especially popular on Christmas. You don't need a lot of stems to create a beautiful effect. Between five and ten red Mokara orchid stems nestled in a clear vase should do the trick. Mokara orchid stems generally have between ten to 12 blooms. They come in essentially two shades. A shade that is blood red. The other shade is darker because a closer look at the flower reveals spots that make the flower look darker red. Either one should add another dimension to your Christmas decorating.
Cut Christmas orchids also give you more bang for your buck (especially in this great economy we're living in..). They are long lasting and really add a real dimension of elegance against other Christmas flowers like red roses, red carnations and white chrysanthemums. I love red carnations, don't get me wrong and their beautiful scent but what most orchids lack in scent (most orchids don't have a fragrance we as humans can smell, but bees can!) is beauty and elegance. With cut orchid flowers you only need to use a few flowers to create holiday magic. So get to buying some orchids to add to your decor or give as a very special gift.
With the advent of the Internet - you don't have to drive to an orchid show (although I highly recommend everyone visit an orchid show) or your local florist (don't tell them I said that) you can shop hundreds of fine Internet orchid sites. Orchidmall.com is a great place to start. On these sites you can find orchids currently in bloom for the months of November and December. For example, in California, the Cymbidium orchid season (another popular Christmas orchid) starts in November. Many growers and retailers only charge a little extra to get an orchid with blooms or in spike as its commonly called with an orchid is in bloom. This is a special treat in Christmas because orchids truly are an excellent Christmas gifts not to mention they make your decor look something out of the space age! Meaning its decorating ahead of its time.
Finally, Christmas orchids can add a twist to your holiday decor. Yes Christmas looks beautiful in all red but change it up a little, have fun! Two pink phalaenopsis orchids should do it - and it won't hurt you to spend something on yourself either. Orchid growers and breeders are now creating spectacular orchids originating from the United States, Taiwan, Holland, and Singapore. A desire to create more spectacular orchid plants will require florists and interior decorators to be more creative in both selling and designing with differently colored orchids like pinks, yellows and harlequin orchid types.
Merry Christmas Orchid from everyone at 1888Orchids.com. We hope this Christmas is as magical as your most magical Christmas ever.
Christmas Orchids and Orchid flowers delivered visit: http://www.1888orchids.com/Christmas_Orchids_s/629.htm
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Considered “The Queen of Orchidaceous Plants,” and one of the world’s largest orchids, this particular Grammatophyllum speciosum is 12 feet in diameter and weighs about 200 pounds. It last bloomed in 2003 and has four huge flower spikes, at least one of which should remain in bloom for the next week or two, said David Horak, curator of the garden’s orchid collection.
Known as the tiger or leopard orchid, the plant is native to Malaysia, Sumatra and New Guinea, where it grows in the crotches of trees more than 100 feet in the air. Plants can weigh up to two tons.
“There are all kinds of anecdotal stories about workers being killed trying to remove one from a tree,” Mr. Horak said.
If it is rare in nature, this Gulliver of the garden world is even rarer in captivity, because very few people or institutions can afford to grow it.
Mr. Horak bought the plant 10 years ago for $75 at an auction from the widow of Don Richardson, who was the orchid grower for Greentree, the Whitney estate on Long Island. It now hangs in a 30-inch square basket, 15 feet in the air above a pond in the Robert W. Wilson Aquatic House, part of the Steinhardt Conservatory.
As plants go, it is fairly high-maintenance, he said. It is watered every sunny day, and fed two or three times a week.
The last time we potted it, it took five people and a rope and pulley to lower it into the current basket. They resent being repotted, and for some time after we repotted it, it kind of sulked. It didn’t grow very well for a couple years.
In an August 2007 article in orchids, the bulletin of the American Orchid Society, Erich E. Michel, the operations manager of the Hoosier Orchids in Indianapolis, describes trying to get a Grammatophyllum to bloom. In the essay, titled “I Need to Grow a Giant Orchid” (a need his wife as defined as “childish competitive dementia”), he described trying to coax blooms from the plant, which he variously refers to as “the beast” and “the monster.”
The plant’s spiny rootlets, which dry and harden until they are thornlike, catch plant and animal litter from above and form “a self-made composter” that helps feed the plant.
“These barbed roots were just one way the plant could hurt you,” he writes, then describes how, after nine years of waiting, the growers decided to force the plant to bloom, by starving it. “We were going to make it think it was going to die,” he wrote.
He succeeded in 2004, and again in 2007, when the plant produced eight flower spikes. That year, he decided to move it to the Garfield Park Conservatory in Indianapolis, which required four people to hold the pot and three to hold the plant’s stems.
The Brooklyn orchid’s next feat will be to produce a seed capsule the size of a Nerf football, Mr. Horak said. It will have about two million dustlike seeds in it, which may be offered to a commercial firm or other institution that wants to try growing its own. The seeds are considered an aphrodisiac in some circles, Mr. Michel wrote.
Unlike Audrey Junior, the voracious plant from "The Litle Shop of Horrors" the Brooklyn plant has not been named, Mr. Horak said.
“On any given day, if it’s creating trouble, it gets names nobody wants to hear,” he said.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Nineteen years ago Hoosier Orchid Company moved into our facilities here on the northwest side of Indianapolis, building on a tradition of providing species and fine hybrid orchids that traced back through Sea Breeze Orchids, Great Lakes Orchids and Margaret Ilgenfritz Orchids. We joined our legacy with those of Fred Hillerman, the late Madeline Elder, Steve Stevenson, John Schwind and others. Over these 19 years we have experienced great success in getting to know our customers, providing you with fantastic service as well as fine plants, and the joy of learning about orchids and sharing our love of orchids with you.
It is in recognition of that joy and success that I write to let you know that Hoosier Orchid Company has permanently closed. We have enjoyed growing and sharing our orchids, developing new and exciting lines of breeding, discovering new species, speaking to orchid societies, educating our local customers, displaying at shows around the country, making rare species available, and so many other aspects of our business. Our closing is a bittersweet recognition of the changing aspects of the orchid industry and societal trends.
Our focus on species orchids was based on our love of species and their natural habitats. We encourage everyone to support in situ and ex situ conservation of orchids. Please support artificial propagation of species orchids and the preservation of the complex web of life that allows these wonderful plants to exist and flourish. Cherish and share the species you have in your collections and grow them responsibly.
All of us here join me in thanking you for your interest in our company, your friendship, and your patronage over the years. Best wishes for many years of healthy plants and beautiful blooms!
William Ames Rhodehamel President,
Hoosier Orchid Company
Monday, September 15, 2008
From midnight, American agriculture authorities are banning all New Zealand flower imports following the discovery of two flower shipments containing light brown apple moth eggs.
The decision to suspend the flower imports will hit growers hard, as it comes right in the middle of the lucrative orchid season.
"It's a major concern at this time of year because we're in full flush like other growers," Joe Sonneveld from Joshua Ltd says.
Mr Sonneveld sells over a quarter of his orchid crop to the US and is concerned that losing the American market could see prices collapse.
"If it can't go elsewhere it will be dumped in Japan," he says. "And that could be a disaster for prices that are already weak."
Flower exports to the US make up a third of New Zealand's $50 million flower export industry.
The US says the ban is part of a $100 million plan to eradicate the moth in California. However, some Kiwi growers smell a rat.
"The moth is already in America, why ban our flowers now" Mr Sonneveld asks. "I think its protectionism."
The Flower Exporters Association and MAF officials have been quick to address their American counterparts' concerns.
"We're hoping that within a week we'll be able to resume a limited amount of exports of orchids to the US," MAF's Peter Johnston says. "And then certainly other crops will probably take us one or two months."
MAF hopes to begin inspections of the biggest indoor growers next week.
Meyers Conservatory's mission is to provide laboratory-grown orchid species at the lowest possible price in an effort to aid in orchid species conservation. We need your help now to keep doing this.
Since we started in 1999, we've never operated as a for-profit business, instead charging just enough to cover the costs of the flasks we produce and to pay our employees. In April of 2008 we increased the base price of our flasks in an effort to give our employees a livable wage. This actually worked for a while, but a number of circumstances have contributed to our financial decline. In September 2008 it was bad enough that we had to take out an over-$7,000 loan to keep operating.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
With over 20'000 species (not including the 100'000+ hybrids and cultivars), choosing which orchid to purchase can seem like a daunting task. And then comes the responsibility of making sure the orchid you buy is free from disease and has been looked after correctly. This article will guide you through the process of buying an orchid as well as offering some suggestions for a good "first orchid" for beginners.
Enjoy and don't forget to visit the site!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I posted a question about orchid mutation on a popular orchid list and asked what is the process by which orchid breeders attempt to get a desired flower color from an orchid for which not all of the orchids grown to produce the desired flower color end up actually producing the desired color. Some orchids will be spotted, others striped and a small percentage of the plants produce the desired flower color - usually a very beautiful color. This image is an example of Dtps. Minho Princess which shows the desired flower color in the foreground and the balance of the orchids producing striped flowers as seen in the background flower. This type of breeding is known as selective breeding.
Advances in orchid growing now allows the production of countless variations of an orchid type. Phalaenopsis for example is a genus that consists of thousands of variations in numerous colors like pink, purple and yellow. One can understand how the process of selective breeding can get complicated because one is breeding two plants in order to produce another plant with the desired flower. After the plants are bred, the grower will keep an eye out for the desired plant. From this crop, only a few of the plants will produce the desired flower color - others may have deformed flowers while others may be molted or spotted and the plant with the desired flowers will have flowers completely different than the non-desired color. This makes the desired plant with the desired flower color very rare. It is one thing to breed an orchid plant to produce a hybrid then clone that hybrid to produce more of that hybrid - which is usually the plant selected by the grower or hobbyist as the plant that will be "mass produced." Selective orchid breeding like is another game. Whereas an orchid grower/breeder can grow/breed an orchid to eventually produce a hybrid, selective breeding involves breeding an orchid whereby the product is two sometimes three variations of the same plant whereby the desired plant color is only a small percentage of the entire crop. In other words, here the grower knows producing 200 plants will only produce a few of the desired plant. He's asking himself, why aren't all my plants coming out the same? The question is, will hybrids from plants that have been selectively bred produce the same string of plants or do these plants all resemble the desired plant selected for cloning? (Someone care to post a comment and help me out here!?). This is a great topic because mutation can occur in various ways. Here is the answer to my question posted on a popular orchid list:
> What is the "process" by which orchid breeders attempt to create an orchid
> whose flower should be pink but from a crop of 100 plants only 25 produce
> the desired color. The rest of the plants are molted or spotted even a
> solid color. I was in an orchid nursery today and saw three variations of
> the same plant - Phalaenopsis Haur Jin Princess "M" as follows:
> Flower Variation One - Solid dark maroon color, heavy substance
> Flower Variation Two - Splash color almost striped
> Flower Variation Three - The desired color, a beautiful pink flower
> I am curious what this "process" is called, is it mutation?
> Your input is greatly appreciated.
Since you did not specify if this was a meristem propagation or a hybrid cross, I assume it is a meristem grouping because of the "M" designation.
Theoretically a meristem propagation should produce plants that are exactly
alike, however, over time we have learned that 'it ain't always so', specially in Phalaenopsis. There are several theories that have been put forward, (i.e.. unstable genes, mutations, the meristem pieces being cut too small and some genetic material being lost, temperature variables etc..) but I have seen nothing that proves it one way or another. So I guess the bottom line is, we really don't know at this time, at least I don't.
If someone has some scientific documentation from a authentic source please send me a copy, as I would love to know and understand what is going on.
If my first assumption is wrong and this is a group of plants grown from seed, then it is just the genetic variability within the hybrid. After all this hybrid has 10 or more generations in its history and tremendous genetic variability.
Hopes this helps.
end of quote
petals. No doubt this is caused by genetic variability or
put another way, ehem... over breeding. After seeing so many
orchids, sightings like these are rare indeed. I have been told by
one grower that an orchid with all of the flowers on the plant deformed has tremendous value. Makes sense since only one maybe two plants in a crop of 500 plants will produce plants with flowers like these. This not being the desired flower (a flower only an orchid lover will love) growers will forego growing more plants like this. Since orchids are in hot demand right now, even the mutated plants like this one and especially with selective breeding plants, are still sold to orchid lovers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I am especially fond of Phalaenopsis Ever-spring Prince "Plum Flower." This orchid may be the most beautiful pink Phalaenopsis in the world without a doubt. With a statement like that, this orchid better be good right? It is! The intense pink borders on fuschia. The flowers glow and can be seen in the distance to beckon the admirer to take a closer look. A touch of the flower reveals waxy petals coming from large, shiny flower buds. Much like Phalaenopsis Haur Jin Princess "M" (for which I do not have any images!!) this orchid - Phalaenopsis Ever-spring Prince "Plum Flower" produces an intermediate orchid whose flowers will have a splash affect on the face or thick stripes - not French spots which cover the entire flower but splashes. What is amazing is since the flowers are waxy, the petals will have remnants of one plant creating an interesting spectacle to behold from the splashes. Only the orchid hobbyist will marvel at this beautiful creation whereby the spots or splashes on the flower are intended to blend and create a solid color.
Another version of the same orchid plant is Phalaenopsis Ever-spring Prince "Plum Flower" which is like other solid colored orchids with waxy flowers (ie., Phalaenopsis Ever Spring-prince "881"). So next time you see a beautiful pink Phalaenopsis, take a closer look because that might be an orchid created through selective breeding. At least we can appreciate what it takes to create sometimes one of a kind orchids.
Now this is rare. One flower out of 200 plants looks like this one. Some Phalaenopsis orchids created by meristem process produces low crop counts because of the rigor of meristeming plants. Not to mention that some Phalaenopsis crops can be finicky whereby out of 200 orchid plants produces, because of the difficulty in growing that specific orchid, produces a crop of fewer than 25 plants. Of course this is another topic from orchid mutation, but one point is clear, some orchids although at first glance may not appear to be "rare" but they are. The definition of rare is "Of an uncommon nature; unusually excellent; valuable to a degree seldom found."
An example of an orchid that is hard to grow is Phalaenopsis Yu Pin "Pearl." Here is a plant that may start with a crop of 500 plants and from this only produce 300 flowering plants. I am making up these numbers to some degree nor do I know the exact percentages of which plants make it and which plants don't. But discussions with the best growers will tell you that this orchid is difficult to grow in mass.
I am not sure of the name of this orchid but I am sure it was a special orchid.
Perfectly formed Phalaenopsis Leopard Prince "SJ." Note the large, red labellum with a yellow center. Stunning.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Kyung S & Woo Seung Chung purchased the property known as Orchid Park Nursery, at 2801-2929 Etting Rd. in Oxnard, CA. Total consideration for the sale was approximately $2.8 million, or about $623/square foot. The property is a nursery with a 4,500-square-foot retail building on a 10.4-acre lot. The current tenant, Taean Orchids USA Inc will continue to occupy the building under the new owner. John Lee of First Team Realty represented the seller, Sang Lee of Taean Orchids USA Inc. The buyer's broker was not disclosed. Please refer to CoStar COMP# 1520898 for further information.
As far as he knows, the bloom is a world-first.
Mr Kelder has spent 20 years breeding hybrids in greenhouses behind his home and says this one is an inexplicable mutation that could soon be marketed right across Australia and even worldwide.
The plant has been cross-bred from an exotic grammatophyllum orchid and a cymbidium species native to Australia.
"I’ve done that many times, but this has no resemblance to the others at all," Mr Kelder said.
"It’s the kind of mutation that might occur once in a million years."
The orchid looks most like a straight cymbidium, which only flowers in cooler climates but the national herbarium has confirmed its pollen structure is completely different, he said.
Mr Kelder is going to clone the plant at the end of its flowering and then mass produce it.
Hundreds of orchids will be on display at the Tropical Queensland Orchid Council Conference and Show at Cairns Showgrounds’ Fred Moule Exhibition Centre this weekend from 9am-5pm both days.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Here's another article on this wonderful plant.
Tahitian vanilla originated in Maya forests, says UC Riverside botanist
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The origin of the Tahitian vanilla orchid, whose cured fruit is the source of the rare and highly esteemed gourmet French Polynesian spice, has long eluded botanists. Known by the scientific name Vanilla tahitensis, Tahitian vanilla is found to exist only in cultivation; natural, wild populations of the orchid have never been encountered.
Now, a team of investigators led by Pesach Lubinsky, a postdoctoral researcher with Norman Ellstrand, a professor of genetics in UC Riverside's Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, claims to have traced Tahitian vanilla back to its true origins.
In the August issue of the American Journal of Botany, Lubinsky and colleagues use genetic and ethnohistoric analysis to argue that Tahitian vanilla began its evolutionary journey as a pre-Columbian Maya cultivar inside the tropical forests of Guatemala.
"All the evidence points in the same direction," Lubinsky said. "Our DNA analysis corroborates what the historical sources say, namely, that vanilla was a trade item brought to Tahiti by French sailors in the mid-19th century. The French Admiral responsible for introducing vanilla to Tahiti, Alphonse Hamelin, used vanilla cuttings from the Philippines. The historical record tells us that vanilla – which isn't native to the Philippines – was previously introduced to the region via the Manila Galleon trade from the New World, and specifically from Guatemala."
The Manila galleons (1565-1815) were Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice each year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco, Mexico. The ships brought Chinese porcelain, silk, ivory, spices, and other exotic goods to Mexico in exchange for New World silver.
The genetic data Lubinsky and his colleagues obtained confirmed that the closest relatives to Tahitian vanilla, from among 40 different Vanilla species they analyzed from across the world, were two species that grow naturally only in the tropical forests of Central America: Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla odorata. V. planifolia is also the primary species cultivated for commercial vanilla, and is grown principally in Madagascar and Indonesia. V. odorata has never been cultivated.
Yet, even with this initial genetic data, the researchers faced a conundrum. They could find no Tahitian vanilla growing wild in Guatemala, which is where its closest relatives grew. The researchers decided to give their genetic data a second look. This time, by comparing patterns of relatedness in DNA sequences from both the nucleus and the chloroplast (a plant cell's photosynthetic factory), they discovered that Tahitian vanilla fit the pattern of being a hybrid offspring between V. planifolia and V. odorata.
"And that's where the Maya cultivators come in," Lubinsky explained. "The pre-Columbian Maya had been managing their forests for millennia to cultivate cacao and to make chocolate, and we know they were also cultivating vanilla to use it as a chocolate spice. The Maya created these forest gardens by introducing different types of species of wild cacao and vanilla from the surrounding forests, which meant that species that had previously been geographically separated were then able to hybridize because they were in the same place. That's the scenario we present in our research paper for how Tahitian vanilla got started. It is an evolutionary product, but also a Maya artifact."
Seung-Chul Kim, an assistant professor of systematics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and a coauthor on the research paper, served as an advisor to Lubinsky on the project.
"Pesach has demonstrated that Vanilla species can exchange genes quite frequently across species barriers," Kim said. "This provides an opportunity to breed new commercial varieties of vanilla through hybridization in the future."
Lubinsky, Kim and their colleagues plan to do further research on vanilla. In January 2009, they will begin mapping cacao-vanilla forest gardens in Belize, southern Mexico and Guatemala. They also are actively advising on sustainable agricultural development projects using vanilla in Mexico and Belize, and have plans to assemble a vanilla germplasm collection.
Friday, July 11, 2008
As many of you are aware, Carlos Fighetti, president of the AOS, lost his wife to a tragic heart attack over the weekend. On behalf of the entire membership, we wish to express our condolences and sympathies to Carlos and his children on the sudden passing of such a wonderful person. Everyone is shocked by the loss of Maria Teresa Fighetti, a dedicated wife, person and friend.
I have been asked to convey that there will be a private funeral service. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at the University of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on July 11. Carlos and his family have been deeply touched by the outpouring of condolences. Carlos has asked that anyone wishing to express his or her sympathies might consider making a donation to the Heritage Collection of the American Orchid Society. Tere was impressed with the idea of preserving the special orchid species and hybrids that are the foundation of our hobby and commercial businesses. A donation in Tere's name would be a lasting way to remember a gracious person who, through her patience and understanding, gave us her husband and friend to lead the revitalization of the AOS.
For those of you who would like to express your sympathies to Carlos and his family, their address and email are:HC-03 Box 8125Guaynabo, PR 00971-9710
Should you wish to make a donation to the Heritage Collection of the American Orchid Society, please contact Susan Wayman at 561-404-2031 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AOS Vice President
Wednesday, July 09, 2008